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Dominica has been nicknamed the “Nature Island of the Caribbean” for its unspoiled natural beauty. It is the youngest island in the Lesser Antilles, still being formed by geothermal-volcanic activity, as evidenced by the world’s second-largest hot spring, the Boiling Lake.

The island features lush mountainous rainforests, deep valleys, lakes and rivers, and is home of many rare plant, animal, and bird species. There are dry areas along the western coast of the island, but heavy rainfall can be expected inland and in the rainforest and mountain regions.

Dominica is one of the youngest islands in the Caribbean chain. It is a sprightly 26 million years old, still actively evolving with continuous geothermal activity.

On November 3rd 1978, Dominica obtained its independence from Britain. The new era of independence brought increased challenges, and economic and political struggles. By the mid 1980s Dominica had settled down as a stable and peaceful country. The success of the banana trade, the island’s major export, brought economic buoyancy to the island. By 1992 however, Dominica saw sharp declines in banana exports with the loss of its preferential access on the UK market.

Government Role in the Energy Sector

Ministry of Trade, Energy and Employment
The Ministry of Trade, Energy and Employment is responsible for formulating Dominica’s energy policy. The Energy Unit of the Ministry coordinates the implementation of the policy for electricity generation, transmission, and distribution, including renewable energy, in conjunction with the electricity sector regulator and the utility company. A Project Management Unit (PMU) established within the Ministry of energy in 2009 to coordinate the exploration and exploitation of geothermal resources in Dominica.

The Energy Unit
The Energy Unit is the primary contact for Government’s renewable energy development programme. It is responsible for coordinating, in consultation with key stakeholders and in accordance with Government’s established policy, the development of a comprehensive programme for developing Dominica’s renewable energy resources, for making sound policy recommendations to the Minister for Energy for the effective implementation of the Renewable Energy Programme, and to ensure that performance in meeting standards and targets is monitored, evaluated and reported on a regular basis.

Ministry of Public Work and Ports
The Ministry of Public Works and Ports is responsible for regulating the operations of the electric utility company, Dominica Electricity Services Ltd. (DOMLEC). The Ministry is also responsible for coordinating the development and expansion of electricity production, transmission, and distribution, including electricity generated from renewable sources. The Ministry of Public Works coordinates matters related to the supply of public lighting.

Government agencies

The Ministry of Trade, Energy and Employment, through the Energy Unit, collaborates with other government agencies such as the Invest Dominica Authority, the Environmental Coordinating Unit, the Ministries of Agriculture, the Forestry Division, the Physical Planning Division, and private sector entities to consider issues related to the promotion of investment in sustainable energy projects and activities.

Energy procedure

The Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica recognises the importance of energy and the environment and the holistic approaches and synergies required to manage energy policy and setting the country on a new path to social and economic growth which will distinguish Dominica as a model of sustainable development.

Guiding Principles

This Policy has been developed in pursuit of its core principles, including the increased development and use of renewable energy technologies and increased energy efficiency at all stages of the energy supply and demand chain. In this regard it is guided by the St. Georges’ Declaration of Principles for Environmental Sustainability in the OECS, in particular, Principle number 16, which speaks specifically to energy, and states, “The promotion of energy conservation through the use of energy efficient technologies and systems will be a high priority for everyone in the region. However, the people of the region will expand their use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.”

The NEP seeks to integrate environmental, economic, social and cultural factors in recognition of St. Georges’ Declaration Principle number two, which speaks to integrated development planning, and it has benefitted from the full participation of civil society and input from the private sector in accordance with Principles four and five.

Energy and the Environment

The way in which energy is sourced and used has direct impacts upon the surrounding air, water, soil and biota. The greatest environmental threat faced by mankind – climate change – is a direct result of previous ignorance of the consequences of the combustion of petroleum hydrocarbons as a source of energy. The NEP will seek to minimise adverse environmental or public health impacts associated with energy production, transmission or usage.

Energy and the Economy

Petroleum imports to Dominica accounted for more than 15.5% of the total import bill of the Commonwealth of Dominica. Universal access to electrical energy and the provision of mobility for people and goods are fundamental economic objectives. As the economy further develops, energy consumption is anticipated to increase at a commensurate level under the Business-As-Usual (BAU) scenario.

The energy sector has the potential to serve as a powerful engine of growth for the economy. This includes the benefits from industrial and commercial production via modern energy services as well as the possible export of clean renewable electricity from the potential geothermal power projects in Dominica. This policy recognises the central role that energy – particularly geothermal renewable energy – will play in the economic future of the island.

Energy and the Society – “Energy for All”

Streetlights for the dark country road, floodlights for the football and basketball courts, electricity and stoves for every home, stand-by generators for the hospital and other essential public services, and fuel for buses, trucks, ships and planes. Access to affordable energy is seen as a right of all in Dominica.Principle number one of the Rio Declaration (1992), states “Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.”  The National Energy Policy for Dominica is predicated upon the principle that access to affordable and dependable sources of energy is a prerequisite for improving the quality of life. Inasmuch as access to modern energy services is considered essential in the 21st century, the Government is committed to providing universal access to electrical energy.


The contributions that sustainable energy – renewable energy and energy efficiency – make to improvements in the economic, environmental, and social conditions of Dominica are integrally connected to the following objectives:

  1. Greater energy security
  2. Increased energy independence, including through the development of renewable natural resources
  3. Maximisation of energy efficiency
  4. Greater environmental sustainability
  5. Reduction of energy costs and tariffs
  6. Extension of universal electricity coverage

Greater Energy Security

Energy security refers to the reliable, accessible, affordable energy over all periods from the short to long term. Secure energy supplies are essential to drive and sustain economic development while contributing to improvements in social conditions.

Achieving Energy Independence

Energy independence is a key challenge in Dominica, as with other island nations of the Caribbean. Independence may be enhanced through increased self-sufficiency – the production and delivery of energy from domestic resources – as well as through the expanded interdependence of island nations for their energy supplies.

In the short term, the government intends to address the weaknesses in its current energy policy, and is considering a review of the draft National Energy Policy for Dominica and the Electricity Supply Act, No. 10 of 2006, to clarify regulations for IPPs, and adopt renewable energy legislation and regulations, and enacting a Geothermal Resources Development law. Long-term goals of DOMLEC include grid improving and maintenance so that power losses through transmission and distribution are reduced to single-digit percentages.

Secondary to these goals, the Dominica Energy Development Programme also calls for studies of additional hydropower and geothermal sites, energy audits of government facilities, and incentives to encourage the use of solar hot water systems in homes, and in the commercial and hospitality sectors.

Geothermal energy has the ability to supply reliable baseload power at relatively low cost, and with a negligible ecological footprint. The Government of Dominica has therefore pursued the exploitation of the geothermal resources on the island. The proposed domestic geothermal power plant can potentially replace the current diesel generating plants, supplying the baseload power requirements of the island, thus significantly reducing the overall cost of electricity to the consumer. The plan is to construct a 10 MW capacity geothermal power plant within the next two years for local consumption, and to increase electricity production by the year 2020 for export to the neighbouring islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique via a submarine electrical interconnection.

Dominica, as a small island developing state, faces distinct challenges and vulnerabilities when it comes to its energy sector. Despite substantial renewable energy reserves, the country remains dependent on imported petroleum products for electricity generation. According to government estimates, Dominica spent $20 million on diesel imports in 2012, equivalent to 24 percent of its GDP. Nearly 70 percent of the country’s electricity production is fossil fuel-based. The remaining (approximately 6.4 MW) is produced from “run of the river” hydro power plants. That could soon change, as Dominica lies in a volcanic region, boasting the second largest boiling lake in the world. Estimates suggest that geothermal power could generate 500+ megawatts of power in Dominica, almost 20 times the island’s current installed capacity of 26.64 MW.

Results from exploratory well drilling and testing (December 2011 to June 2012) and production well drilling and testing (November 2013 to June 2014), which were funded by international donors Agence Française de Développement, the European Union, and public funds from Dominica, confirmed a high likelihood of up to 65MW of geothermal resources in the Wotten Waven / Laudat field in the Roseau Valley. Given the high potential, Dominica has the possibility to not only achieve energy security, but also become an energy hub for the eastern Caribbean.

Energy regulator

The Independent Regulatory Commission (IRC) was established by the Electricity Supply Act No. 10 of 2006 .The functions of the IRC are to encourage the expansion of electricity supply to Dominica where this is cost effective and in the public interest, and to encourage the operation and development of safe, efficient and economical electricity sector in Dominica. The IRC is to ensure the security and efficiency of the supply of electricity, and facilitate the promotion of sustainable and fair competition, while protecting the interest of all classes of consumers of electricity in Dominica.

The Independent Regulatory Commission created history on October 7, 2013 when two new licences were presented to the utility, Dominica Electricity Services Ltd. (DOMLEC). DOMLEC was issued a Generation Licence. This license gives DOMLEC the non exclusive right and privilege within Dominica to generate electricity. The second license is a Transmission, Distribution and Supply License which gives DOMLEC the exclusive right and privilege to transmit distribute and supply electricity in Dominica. Both licences are for 25 years and took effect on January 1st 2014.

Degree of independence

The law requires the IRC to be independent in the performance of its functions and duties, and it shall not be subject to the direction and control of the Government or of any person, corporation or authority, except that the Commission shall have due regard to the public interest and overall Government policy as embodied in the legislation. The board consists of the Chairman and four Commissioners, all appointed by the Minister for Public Utilities.

Regulatory roles

The IRC has the following functions:

  • Encouraging wider availability of electricity supply throughout Dominica,
  • Ensuring that all reasonable demands for electricity are met,
  • Promoting efficiency in the generation, transmission, distribution, supply and use of electricity,
  • Establishing technical standards applicable to providing electricity services or installations on customer’s premises,
  • Protecting the interests of consumers,
  • Facilitating competition in the electricity sector,
  • Enabling the financial viability of efficient licensees,
  • Issuing, monitoring and amending licenses and collecting license and other fees,
  • Establishing and monitoring standards by which the efficiency of the service provision can be evaluated,
  • Inspecting and testing electrical plant and equipment owned by licensees as well as consumers,
  • Promoting wider regional cooperation in the regulation and operation of the electricity sector.

Energy regulation role

No Government department takes an active role in energy regulation in the country. The Ministry of Public Works is responsible for pursuing governmental policy on renewable energy promotion and regulation, in collaboration with the IRC.

Regulatory barriers

Dominica is taking steps in developing a new energy policy that would entail greater use of indigenous RES and the adoption of EE measures. A draft National Energy Policy was finalized in November 2014 for approval by Government. On approval, the new policy will create favourable market conditions for the deployment of new renewable energy developments on the island.

Approved Projects

  1. CDKN-CARICOM-A Regional Implementation Plan for CARICOM’s Regional Climate Change Resilience Framework
  2. Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA)
  3. Caribbean Sustainable Energy Programme (CSEP)
  4. Caribbean-GTZ Renewable Energy Programme
  5. Caribbean-NREL Cooperation
  6. Dominica-Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR)
  7. Dominica Island-NREL Cooperation



Category/ies:Dominica Articles, Energy Efficiency, Energy Security, Geothermal Energy, Geothermal Tech, Hydropower Tech.
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